Land O’Lakes and Microsoft partner to cultivate agtech solutions

The companies are developing tech to boost agricultural production, support sustainability and provide rural broadband, underscoring a growing trend of vendors co-creating solutions with customers.

Land O’Lakes and Microsoft partner to cultivate agtech solutions
Land O'Lakes

Not even the global COVID-19 pandemic can stop industry leaders from using digital platforms and emerging technologies to generate new revenue streams.

Land O'Lakes and Microsoft have partnered to build cloud, edge computing, sensors and AI solutions to improve services for farmers and dairy producers, propel sustainability initiatives and boost broadband connectivity in a rural America starving for high-speed internet access. It’s part of the dairy and agriculture producer’s strategy for looking to technology partners to help cultivate innovation, says Land O'Lakes CIO Ted Bekele.

"We're a tech-driven company, but we're not a tech company per se," Bekele tells CIO.com. "Instead of just using Microsoft's services, we're building solutions side by side. Microsoft is getting in on the innovation cycle."

Land O'Lakes began purchasing cloud services from Microsoft in 2015, about the time big companies began renting compute capacity over the internet more liberally. Fast forward five years and that deal has blossomed into a strategic partnership, underscoring how some big-name companies have grown comfortable co-creating vertical solutions with cloud vendors.

Traditionally, cloud vendors have cranked out commodity services and sold them with a hands-off approach. But under CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft is taking a kinder, white-glove touch with Land O'Lakes, endearing itself to customers and propping up the agricultural market.

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